Updated: Mar 24, 2021
To all of you SLPs, you who so diligently do. And do. And do. You're doing is not unseen.
I see you, SLP. With your 80-student caseload. Sitting down with you paper, pen, teacher schedules, and personal calendar to create a speech therapy schedule for each individual little person.
I see you, SLP. With your third cup of coffee. At 9 AM. Because you were up late last night finishing daily notes.
I see you, SLP. On the couch with your TV on. Lugging our your computer. Typing up progress notes. Spending 8 min on the first and realizing, with a sinking heart, that 8 x 80 = 640 = 10 hours and 40 minutes.
I see you, SLP. Forgetting your lunch box. Scrounging around for the Luna bar you know you had in the desk drawer. Realizing you ate it yesterday.
I see you, SLP. Working a sound placement for the umpteenth time. Visual, mirror, lollipop, other random object not working. Time’s up. Limited progress.
I see you, SLP. Years and years of sounds, verbs, questions, directions, conversation skills, idioms, stutters, nasality. What’s the next step? It’s definitely not more PD. Just one more year. Maybe.
I see you, SLP. Staring blankly ahead at the road and cars in front of you. Vaguely aware of the talk show hosts on the radio. Looking down at the screen that reads “5:45 AM.” You’ve got an hour’s worth of driving ahead of you.
I see you, SLP. At the day care drop off. Holding the little hand of the little person walking beside you. Wondering if working is worth it. Reminding yourself of all the good social skills that little person is already learning. Hoping for a smooth transition and happy smile as you leave.
I see you, SLP. Printing, cutting, glueing, laminating, cutting, organizing every activity. For those 80 students that need extra motivation and a little fun while they work on challenging tasks.
I see you, SLP. Headset on. Sitting behind a computer. Typing an email. Sending a text. Alone at home.
I see you, SLP. Three kids in a shopping cart, one in your arms. Trying to have the same patience you’ve had with students all day. Wondering why on earth the gallon-size organic whole milk hasn’t been re-stocked.
I see you, SLP. Your color-coded therapy schedule. Your fantastically fresh folders. Your beautiful binders. Your pretty paperclips and pens. Gorgeous.
I see you, SLP. Make up on. Dressed to the nines. Walking the halls like you own the building.
I see you, SLP. Materials immaculately organized. Room visually engaging. Flexible seating in place. Notes completed. Green checks all the way down the list.
I see you, SLP. Out to lunch. Eating with colleagues. Having a laugh over the happenings of the day. Doing what you do best: talking.
I see you, SLP. Your shout. Your happy dance. Your smile. Your student finally got that sound placement right.
I see you, SLP. Turning years of experience into an outpouring of mentorship. Teaching the tricks that aren’t bothered with in textbooks. Toughening up the young a little. Sharing the knowledge you’ve stored away for the past 20 years.
I see you, SLP. Turning up the music, podcast, audible book. Keeping still and listening to the quiet hum of the road.
I see you, SLP. The diaper bag packed, the night before, even. The snack and lunch bag assembled and ready to go. The conversation in the car. The firm grip on the little hand while walking in the door. The one last squeeze. The giggles as you leave.
I see you, SLP. Prompting, eliciting, cueing, reinforcing, prompting, responding, repeating. All of it, rewarding.
I see you, SLP. Stepping out of your house. Relishing the sun. Calling your mom, sister, brother, father, friend. Meeting a new acquaintance for coffee. Remote, not alone.
I see you, SLP. Snuggling your little ones close at night. Talking to them in the dark about their day. Singing just one more song as their little eyes close.
I see you, SLP.
Count it all joy.
-Angela C. Hancock, MSP, CCC-SLP
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